Customer Reviews


46 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (18)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5* - A familiar story, a fast-paced read
As I read the first few chapters of this book (the first in a series), I felt the story was all too familiar - a young girl named Lucy P. Simmons finds herself orphaned when her parents unaccountably die in a drowning incident. Lucy finds herself being unceremoniously left in the "care" of a pair of unscrupulous people, her Uncle Victor and Aunt Margaret since her actual...
Published 18 months ago by Z Hayes

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just an Ok Read
This is an ok middle grade read, not one that I will rush to recommend to my students. My first reaction was "oh here's yet another story about an orphaned girl mistreated by her guardians." Then the author woven in a little magic, a hint of a curse, a mysterious woman who might be a sea witch and a mysterious missing aunt. These are all elements for a good story, but...
Published 20 months ago by Beverly L. Archer


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just an Ok Read, November 13, 2012
By 
Beverly L. Archer (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an ok middle grade read, not one that I will rush to recommend to my students. My first reaction was "oh here's yet another story about an orphaned girl mistreated by her guardians." Then the author woven in a little magic, a hint of a curse, a mysterious woman who might be a sea witch and a mysterious missing aunt. These are all elements for a good story, but somehow they never quite merged together to create that good story. It's as though the author was in a hurry to get the story told and didn't quite take the time to develop it properly.

I was also bothered by the fact that despite the title, Lucy doesn't embark on a voyage until the end of the book. The ending left so many unanswered questions, that I'm guessing there must be a sequel planned. However, I'm not sure I'll spend my treasured reading time, reading it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5* - A familiar story, a fast-paced read, January 5, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As I read the first few chapters of this book (the first in a series), I felt the story was all too familiar - a young girl named Lucy P. Simmons finds herself orphaned when her parents unaccountably die in a drowning incident. Lucy finds herself being unceremoniously left in the "care" of a pair of unscrupulous people, her Uncle Victor and Aunt Margaret since her actual designated guardian, Aunt Prudence is gallivanting about somewhere in the world, apparently on matters pertaining to a family curse.
Lucy's life changes for the worse but there's some relief. The house itself appears to harbor some magical properties and Lucy has an ally in the form of devoted servant Addie. Lucy is desperate to find Aunt Prudence, but then she herself is whisked away by a mysterious woman.

There are elements of mythology in this fast-paced read that is touched on but not explored in depth. This book being the first in a series basically sets up the premise for what is to follow, so that Lucy P. Simmons does not exactly begin her actual voyage until the very end of the book.

Frankly, there are too many contrived elements in this story to appeal to me and I did not think the characterizations were very well done. Many of the characters are portrayed as absolutely good or bad which might appeal to some readers but I prefer more complex, well-rounded characters. Perhaps there will be more depth to Lucy's character in the subsequent installments. I do think this makes a fast-paced, engaging read for middle grade readers and perhaps even younger readers who are able to understand the content.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly memorable heroine and the beginning of a grand adventure, November 8, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons is an exciting, magical read that is sure to engage young readers in grades 5 through 7. We have some genuine peril, as our heroine loses both her parents in the opening chapters and is then threatened and mistreated by a conniving uncle who is intent on stealing her fortune. Lucy is an able heroine, showing just the right amounts of spunk and vulnerability. She is fiercely intelligent and independent, offering up an inspiring role model for young readers just looking to begin to assert their own independence.

My only reservations with this well-paced novel are with the magical elements. So many things are introduced and not explained, that the reader is forced to make many imaginative leaps in order to remain engaged with the narrative. The mysterious house, the mysterious cloud that assists Lucy whenever she is in trouble, and an ending that is just out of this world are never explained or fully developed. It's obvious that this is the beginning of a series and I for one cannot wait to find out what is going to happen next. I just wish this one would have been a bit more fully developed. Still, Voyage is a great adventure in and of itself and introduces us to a memorable young lady. I will be recommending it often.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cute Middle Grade Read with a Bit of Magic, October 21, 2012
This is a cute middle grade read with a bit of magic dispersed throughout. Lucy's character is smart and cunning and she is always attempting to do the right thing - just the same as her parents would have done. In her trials the house seems to help her out - well, the house, or the magic, we aren't quite sure where it's coming from - but it's suddenly there.

When Marni shows up and enters into Lucy's life things get even stranger for her. First of all she doesn't know who Marni really is, but Marni is convincing as a headmistress and is able to place herself in between Lucy and her aunt and uncle. Though, with an aunt and uncle reminiscent of Petunia and Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter - it doesn't take much to pull one over on them. They are the characters to hate in this story, along with the Brute - known for treating his children and dog very badly.

The story ends with an opening to an adventure on the sea, leaving us without information on where the magic came from and who this Marni person is. I do wish there were more information given away, it feels as if everything is being held back for the next book in the series.

ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars May be best suited for children, January 15, 2013
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Twelve-year-old Lucy Simmons had a happy life until her parents drowned at sea. Now her Uncle Victor and his wife Margaret are her guardians - at least until her Aunt Pru is found. Uncle Victor is too greedy to let that happen and will do anything he can to get Lucy's house and her money, even breaking the law and lying to make it happen. Lucy, along with her friends - including the mysterious Marni - and the help of some magic is determined to stop Victor. Will they be able to stop Victor before it is too late?

Aimed at ages eight and up, "The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons" is a nice little book that should delight children although adults may roll their eyes at some of the plot contrivances. Lucy is a resourceful young heroine, devastated after the loss of her parents but determined to do whatever she can to stop her uncle even if it gets her in trouble. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters, especially the adults, aren't nearly as well written. Victor is a cartoonish villain who doesn't even bother to hide his motives. "The Brute" is equally a caricature - one could have felt a bit of sympathy for him losing his wife and effectively his children but there isn't a redeemable characteristic about him (his appearance at the beginning of the book is the start of many of the coincidences and contrivances in the book). Marni is a nicely done, enigmatic character although I do wish author Barbara Maniconda had let us know a little bit more about her (I suppose that will come in later books in the series). The children fare better as characters, all are brave and at times smarter than the evil adults in the book (Manicona makes the common mistake of having characters with similar names in the book - Annie and Addie - which can be confusing). The magic in this book is at times delightful and at times frustrating (why doesn't the house let Lucy in the one time when she really needs to get in? I suppose it is best not to think too much about the magic and take it for what it is). The end of the book has some exciting moments and does a nice job of setting up the next book in the series where hopefully some loose ends are tied up and some questions answered.

"The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons" may be better suited for children, but this adult will be picking up the next book in the series to find out what happens to this spunky group of travelers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book but Its Weaknesses Keep It from Being Great, January 13, 2013
By 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I started reading this book, I had no idea that it was going to be the start of a series. None of the promotional material had suggested this to me and neither did the book description. Therefore, I began to become somewhat skeptical, when I was over 3/4 through with the book, about how the story was going to tidy itself up with the minimal amount of time left. It soon became evident that this book was the start of a larger story, and I felt cheated by this not being made known from the onset.

That being said, I do think that too much happened too fast in this book without adequate explanation -- even for a children's read. The magical house was interesting, but I would have preferred at least a somewhat cursory guess about why it is before the book ended and that never happened. I did like the surprise ending (I'm not telling) even though it was kind of easy to guess at it based on a comment earlier in the book -- though I wasn't expecting the change to be as dramatic as it was.

I also did not enjoy that Lucy's Uncle and Aunt were able to come in and take charge of things so handily after the death of her parents - particularly since they were not the named guardian. I felt like the Uncle especially was painted as mean without ever really being cruel to the extent he could have been (he does threaten to drown a dog), particularly given the time period. And Lucy barely has to deal with the repercussions of his actions before that part of the story is over, and we are on to another part of the story that also ends swiftly.

In short this book does too much in its pages without great depth. This keeps the story at average instead of great. I would probably read another book in this series to see if the plot becomes more cohesive at sea, but, as a standalone, this is definitely a 2.5 star read that I am leaning to three.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flaws easy to overlook in what I hope is start of a new series, January 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Barbara Mariconda's "The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons" has a misleading title of sorts but that doesn't mean that the story itself is misleading. There is plenty of intrigue and a journey of sorts in this nicely paced story of a young girl at the turn of century whose life is changed by tragedy.

The story opens with young Lucy excitedly joining her parents for a day on the ocean. Her father is former sea captain of turn of the century Maine. What starts as a day of promise turns into tragedy and Mariconda doesn't flinch from pulling the trigger.

Into Lucy's life comes much uncertainty as she left in the care of a devious uncle as the aunt to whom was named her guardian is overseas.

Lucy is feisty and resourceful. She isn't afraid to look for ways to improve her lot and that makes for an interesting heroine. She's also not afraid to apologize which keeps her from being annoying.

She has an Irish housekeeper whom she is close to and in a bit of luck (or maybe not mere luck), her uncle changes her education so she ends up with a Miss Maude who may be just a bit magical.

There are some flaws in the story. The tragedy isn't touched on as much as I thought it should be and Uncle Victor is so openly dastardly that it was cartoonish but with that said, this is a children's novel and perhaps both those 'flaws' may not be flaws at all to another.

And to be honest, I liked the story enough that I do hope that it continues so that I can find out what happens on Lucy's voyage.

All in all, a fun read that is well paced with some minor flaws that are easily overlooked by engaging characters, nice period details, and sequence at the end was absolutely riveting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prettily written, but a lackluster story, January 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've said it before and I will say it again: I'm a littled annoyed with all these authors who feel they must jump on the bandwagon of attempt-to-write-a-hit-series. Oh, plenty of these series take off, but plenty don't seem to have the steam for it and I'm afraid this is the beginning of one of those series. This book promises plenty of enchantment, but little comes about; will the rest of the series be any better? Am I expected to like a book on the hope its followers will be better?

For now, I will leave behind the series notion and focus on just what this book offers. Which is enough to provide a decent enough story with likable enough characters, but fails to truly grip the imagination and heart.

The story concerns young Lucy P. Simmons, a young girl in Victorian Maine who is orphaned when her parents drown while rescuing a local drunkard. Her aunt Pru is announced as her caretaker, but in her absence her cruel Uncle Victor and his wife take over and plot to steal her inheritance. Lucy's only hope lies in the mysterious woman Marnie, who cares for woebegone children.

Ms. Mariconda adds in a hint of promised fantasy as strange things occur about the house. I initially prepared myself for a charming children's book about a poor orphan assisted by magic, but most of the magical bits don't occur until the end. They are plenty creative and certainly will please the imagination, but I also found them rather skimble-skamble in their insertion, as if fantasy were merely an afterthought. Good meat makes up the rest of the story, though if one is expecting more magic one will be rather disappointed.

Lucy makes a fine little heroine worthy of admiration, strong and interesting without too much blatant and tedious girlpower, Marnie is delightfully mysterious, and Lucy's aunt and uncle are satisfying wicked. Perhaps not the most fascinating characters about, but they worked well for the type of story.

I also enjoyed the writing. If I had to say it erred in one way, it was in the direction of too scholastic and descriptive, but in general it came off quite lovely, just challenging enough for middle readers.

Perhaps it's the fact I'm an adult, but I can only give this book a mild recommendation. The story manages to hold its own for the most part, but nothing in particular stood out as exceptional. Unless the later books improve, this will be a series I won't be getting into.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Charming, January 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lucy P. Simmons is a brilliant addition to all of The Abandoned Child stories like Boxcar Children, Unfortunate Series, and even Harry Potter. So many of them come to mind so quickly! It's always been amazing to me how many children identify with The Abandoned Children - even the most spoiled and definitely Not Abandoned Children.

This is just gorgeous. Within one chapter, Lucy goes from being the perfectly happy child to the child whom has everything important taken away from her. It was almost breathtaking how quickly it all happened. And truthfully, that syrupy happiness is a little difficult to read to children anyway. They start rolling their eyes and disengaging. Before you know it someone has been pinched and someone else is yelling, "Joe touched me with his foot!" 15 pages to the point is perfect.

And children love a good villain. This book serves up TWO.

I would read this to 2nd and 3rd graders and would leave it out for 4th graders or for struggling readers to pick up to read. Struggling readers tend to love a good Abandoned Child story. But then, who doesn't?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prologue, January 4, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I understand that authors usually leave a few tantalizing threads untied in a first novel with the intention of tying up those threads in subsequent sequels. However, that does not begin to explain this book. Even in a planned series, each story needs to have the usual beginning, middle and end. This book is one for three. Barely. It's hard to even call this book a decent Act I. More like an overture.

In this opening to what is clearly a multi-book series, we meet plucky twelve-year-old Lucy P. Simmons (the "P" seems especially important, although we never find out what it stands for) and (briefly) her sea captain of a father and his wife (Lucy's mother). However, Lucy's parents are conveniently thrown overboard (both literally and figuratively) trying to rescue a drowning "Brute" during a sudden freak storm within the first chapter so that Ms. Mariconda can tell the story she really wants to tell: the story of a sweet and innocent, yet determined, orphan who boldly faces - and overcomes - the unmitigated evil into which she is thrust.

Following her parents' death, Uncle Victor and Aunt Margaret waste no time in showing up, not bothering to mask their salivating hunger for the family's assets. Barrister Hardy, however, reads in Father's will that Aunt Prudence is to assume custody of Lucy and fiduciary duty over the house and assets in trust for Lucy. Unfortunately, Aunt Prudence is busy wandering about the globe (apparently having something to do with a "family curse") and can't be reached. That being the case, Lucy's supposedly loving father next left her and the house in the care of Uncle Victor, until such time as Aunt Prudence can be found, with surprisingly few stipulations as to how either could be disposed of. His job done, Barrister Hardy, perhaps reluctantly, but without a backward glance, leaves Lucy to her fate, nevermind Uncle Victor's thinly veiled threat against Lucy's life.

Uncle Victor turns out to be everything Lucy had feared and more. Greedy, controlling and punitive, he reduces Lucy's life to a bare shell in short order. But there are some comforts. Stalwart servant Addelaide (Addie) comes as a package deal, and out of the accident which killed her parents, Lucy acquired a dog, Mr. Pugsley. And best of all, Lucy conveniently discovers that the house itself has magical, protective powers which shield her from all but a minimal amount of Uncle Victor's wrath. And then there's the strange woman whom Lucy spies swimming in the tide from time to time.

Lucy knows she simply must find a way to contact Aunt Prudence. A letter indicates that Aunt Pru was last in the Australian outback, and perhaps likely to be there still. But how exactly is an early twentieth century Americal girl supposed to contact her there? Lucy's problems seem to double, then miraculously abate for a time, when "Miss Maude" shows up to take her off to "boarding school". Who - or what - Miss Maude really is, along with her connection to the "Brute" is a hazy mystery that gradually swirls into a semblance of subtstance.

Then events rapidly spiral out of control as Uncle Victor sells the house (Barrister Hardy having now conveniently returned to England to care for his ailing mother) and the Brute fights for the return of his children (which such children also happen to be in the care of "Miss Maude" who is actually named Marni). The "ending" is all a bit complicated and rather difficult to believe, but suffice it to say that Lucy both retains possession of her house and finds the means of reaching Australia. And that is how, on the final page of the book, the voyage of Lucy P. Simmons finally begins.

If it were only the cheap opening and ploy to get readers hooked on the series, I would still be annoyed, but I'd probably read the ensuing books in spite of myself. But that is not the only thing to dislike about this book. Overall, the book just didn't come together for me. The characters are too black/white - either radiantly pure and innocent and good, or unmitigatedly corrupt and evil. Furthermore, things are too easy. It's too easy for Uncle Victor to get away with his schemes and his designs on Lucy's father's money and property. On the other side, it's too easy for Lucy to evade him, using the convenient magic of the house and Marni's strange gifts and selfless generosity. The book lacks depth and nuance in both the characters and the plot. It's as if Ms. Mariconda were to eager to get Lucy off on her voyage and didn't bother to develop her story as she went.

I can well imagine that Ms. Mariconda will find her sea legs, so to speak, as the books continue, and probably subsequent books in the series will be better and more developed as she gets to know and trust her own characters. Unfortunately, however, this first book has failed to make enough of an impression for me to bother finding out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons
The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons by Barbara Mariconda (Hardcover - October 2, 2012)
$16.99 $6.80
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.